If you suffer from migraine headaches, you don’t need anyone to tell you about the misery these monster headaches can inflict. The pain of the migraines, which in many can be debilitating, is certainly the worst of it, but there are other symptoms associated with them that are, if not equally distressing, not far behind in disquietude and discomfort. Nausea and vomiting, dehydration, dizziness, sensitivities to light and sound, tingling and prickling of the skin, lack of coordination, and inability to focus on even the simplest details are symptoms that plague most migraine sufferers.
Acute migraines can last anywhere from an hour or two to a couple of days in duration. In the chronic state, they can continue for several days, even weeks. The effects of these headaches can be extremely disruptive to the life and physical well being of the sufferer, not to mention to their professional, social, and family dynamics. Sadly, most of the traditional treatments for migraine headaches are accompanied by a host of issues of their own. The side effects of many of the medications available on the market for the treatment of migraines are accompanied by side effects, which, if not as unfortunate as the migraine experience, are nonetheless very unpleasant. Sleeplessness, exhaustion, confusion, sedation, nausea, memory deficits, general malaise and a host of other sensations are commonly experienced side effects of the various medications current utilized for the treatment of migraine headaches.
This predicament leads many to explore options for natural relief to control or abate their pain. There are several natural options for sufferers looking for non-pharmacological solutions, with varying degrees of success. Although not all remedies for natural relief can provide relief that is as immediate or complete as that offered by traditional migraine treating medications, but many are very popular with sufferers due to their lack of adverse side effects. If practiced diligently, many natural migraine interventions can help to reduce the frequency and severity of the attacks.
There are several natural complementary therapies that are commonly used to quell migraines, both prophylactically and in the acute stages.
Acupuncture- Acupuncture therapy has been practiced for over 3,000 years. As a complementary and alternative medical therapy, it is commonly used in the treatment of migraines. By inserting hair-fine needles into strategic points in the body, known as acupuncture points, acupuncture helps to increase the circulation of energy (known as “qi” in traditional Chinese medicine) which can become blocked when the body is sick or experiencing pain. Many migraine sufferers have found acupuncture to be very helpful in breaking up migraines in progress and to curb their occurrences.
Biofeedback- Biofeedback utilizes a combination of conscious awareness of the body and scientific medical equipment to train the body to release itself from bad habits, like holding on to tension in the muscles of the face, head, neck, and torso, maintaining decreased body temperature, and frequency and amount of perspiration, all of which can effect the migraine sufferer. By being guided by a biofeedback therapist to learn to release the body habits that affect these physical aspects and by gaining recognition of their success in doing so by having their responses recorded by electrodes attached to various muscle groups of the body and displayed on the screen of a monitor, the patient learns to recognize the difference between positive and negative feelings in the body, and avoid dangerous behaviors which can alter the frequency and severity of the onset of migraines.
Vitamins- Vitamins C and B6 have been known to help migraine sufferers, and some believe the same of niacin, magnesium, melatonin, and Omage-3 fatty acids. Some migraine sufferers use some or all of these natural supplements during a migraine or at first sign of the pre-migraine aura while others prefer to use them regularly as standard prophylactic migraine therapy. Despite the relatively benign nature of vitamin supplements, it is important that migraine sufferers consult their health care providers before adding new supplements to their diet.
Herbal Supplements- Some herbal supplements are believed to assist with migraine relief. Because herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA and there are few studies to document their success, most evidence of herbal supplements efficacy as migraine remedies are anecdotal, however there are several natural herbs that many migraine sufferers swear by. Among those are feverfew, ginkgo biloba, kava kava, ginger, valerian, chamomile, lavender, and ginseng. As with vitamin therapy, patients should consult their health care providers before beginning an herbal supplement regime.